10 Best “Hidden Gem” Universities in New England

2. University of New England (Biddeford & Portland, ME)

Maine’s largest private university is not only one of New England’s top hidden gem universities, it is also among the northeast’s very best higher education institutions.

In 2014, UNE set out on an ambitious mission; called the “Moving Forward Campaign,” UNE raised $60m towards its future mission of making University of New England among the nation’s best schools in terms of student opportunity, curricular innovation, and contemporary facility.

Amazingly, in less than 6 years, UNE is now ranked as a top national university in the most recent edition of US News. 

UNE is also perhaps best known nationwide for its prestigious Marine and Medical Biology programs, as well as its graduate nursing offering at its Portland campus. However, it has a number of other top-tier programs, including Business, Data Science, and more.

Recently, Fitch gave UNE an A+ rating for its financial solubility in late 2019, denoting the positive economic growth of the school. Another unique ranking UNE recently received includes one from the prestigious Brookings Institution, who called UNE the 2nd-best school in Maine for increasing a students’ career earnings

Interestingly, UNE’s College of Osteopathic Medicine is the only medical school in the entire state of Maine.

1. Sacred Heart University (Fairfield, CT)

Sacred Heart is not just a great hidden gem, but also one of the nation’s premiere Catholic colleges.

Sacred Heart University has been recently ranked highly by US News as well as the Princeton Review. Among the more selective colleges throughout New England, the total student body of Sacred Heart is approximately 8,500 students.

Many Sacred Heart programs are among the highest-ranked throughout the nation. These include their undergraduate business program, which Bloomberg rated among the top in the nation in 2016.

Other highly-rated offerings include Sacred Heart’s Nursing program, which featured a 100% pass rate in the class of 2018 for the NCLEX (licensing exam for nurses). The average pass rate throughout the US is just 73%.

This past year, Zippia called Sacred Heart one of the top-5 universities in Connecticut for getting a job. Amazingly, in 2017, 98% of their students found employment within one year of graduation.

Students at Sacred Heart consistently score their student life very favorably, particularly their theatre arts scene. Beginning in 2009 with a full-scale production of Rent, the school’s Theatre Arts Program has risen to become one of the best schools for extracurricular drama in the northeast. 

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